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2010 Holiday Gift Guide
The end of books? Palo Alto debates library’s future page 3
Spectrum 16 Eating Out 29 Movies 32
❉ ❉ ❉ H A P P Y H O L I D AY S – S E C T I O N 2 N Cover Groundwater: Going with the ﬂow Page 19 N Arts James Su’s pictures tell life stories Page 26 N Sports Stanford has an Axe to grind Page 36
This s yea year, give a gift that doesn’t come in a box. ÛiÊÌ iÊ}vÌÊvÊ>ÊiÝ«iÀiVi°Ê This holiday season, take a break from all that shopping and wrapping. Give an experience and create a cherished memory instead of more “stuff.” Experience gifts are for everyone: UÊ/ViÌÃÊÌÊ>ÊÃ«ÀÌ}ÊiÛiÌ]ÊÃÌ>}iÊ«>ÞÊÀÊÛi UÊÕ>Ê«>ÃÃiÃÊÌÊÕÃiÕÃÊÀÊ«>ÀÃ UÊvÌÊViÀÌwV>ÌiÃÊvÀÊ>Ê>ÃÃ>}i]ÊÃÊÀiÌ>ÊÀÊÀiÃÌ>ÕÀ>Ì Enjoy the holidays knowing you’ve given personal and enjoyable gifts to your friends and loved ones, and you’ve also reduced waste!
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E-books spark outcry at Palo Alto libraries As city plans to reduce print collection in favor of e-books, some see move as ‘betrayal’ of city’s earlier promise by Gennady Sheyner
alo Alto City Councilman Greg Scharff announced earlier this month that he has given up on “real books.” It’s not that he doesn’t read. He just finds print books too unwieldy and prefers to do his reading on his
Kindle or his iPad. “I don’t like holding hard-cover books in my hand anymore — they’re too heavy,” Scharff said at a Nov. 1 meeting between the council and the Library Advisory Commission.
Scharff, who said he reads three to four books a month, said his three children have also made the switch, to varying degrees. His 18-year-old still reads paper books, while his 15-year-old has largely made the switch to digital. His youngest, who
is 13, gets all his information from digital media. Scharff called the e-book phenomenon “amazing” and predicted that books will “become anachronistic.” He had even fiercer words for print periodicals. “I think they’ll just go away, and we’ll end up purely with electronic periodicals,” Scharff said, while Councilwoman Gail Price displayed her disagreement with a
jocular you-just-stuck-a-knife-intomy-heart gesture. The tension between print and ebooks has particular resonance in Palo Alto these days. Library officials and council members acknowledge (most to a lesser extent that Scharff) that the publishing world is quickly transforming. Mayor Pat Burt told the library commission (continued on page 10)
Continuing the ‘Asian conversation’
A hand up for the homeless
Panel on emotional intelligence set for Dec. 8
Downtown Streets Team works to curb panhandling and promote responsibility
by Kelly Jones
(continued on page 13)
n an average day on University Avenue, amongst the businesspeople rushing by, shoppers strolling and teenagers hanging out in Lytton Plaza, workers in brightly colored T-shirts patrol the street with brooms and dustpans, leaving cleanliness in their wake. The shirts, reading Downtown Streets Team in large block letters, indicate that those who wear them are associated with the organization dedicated to ending panhandling in Palo Alto. The Downtown Streets Team was created in 2005 in resp on se to a study done by the Business Improvement District show i ng that the two biggest problems facing local businesses were panhandling and street cleanliness. To knock out two problems with one punch, the nonprofit strives to prepare homeless team members to find permanent jobs through its mentor programs and by providing temporary street-cleaning jobs. During their time on the team, employees keep downtown look-
by Chris Kenrick ith a growing Asian enrollment in Palo Alto schools, parent leaders are preparing a second community forum in what has come to be known as the “Asian conversation.” Students and parents were polled at the first event in March, titled “Growing up Asian in Palo Alto,” to help determine a topic for the second gathering: “The Challenge of Nurturing (Emotional) Intelligence in Palo Alto.” The event will be Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave. This fall, Asian students comprise 35.5 percent of Palo Alto school enrollment, up from 29.5 percent in 2007-08. The growth is even faster in the elementary grades, which this fall has an Asian enrollment of more than 37 percent. School board President Barbara Klausner, school board member Dana Tom and PTA member Sunny Dykwel came up with the idea of holding a public series of “Asian conversations” early this year, inviting a small group of Asian Americans to help plan the March event. Klausner and Tom both are Chinese American. Dykwel moved to the United States from the Philippines as a child. The March discussion on “Growing Up Asian” drew about 200 parents and students, mostly — but not exclusively — Asian. Students and parents shared stories and perceptions about common stereotypes, such as people’s frequent assumption that they are focused exclusively on math and science.
A member of the Downtown Streets Team, which employs homeless people, sweeps along University Avenue in Palo Alto on Tuesday. The Streets Team is supported in part by the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund.
(continued on page 13)
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PUBLISHER William S. Johnson
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EDITORIAL Jay Thorwaldson, Editor Jocelyn Dong, Managing Editor Carol Blitzer, Associate Editor Keith Peters, Sports Editor Tyler Hanley, Expressâ„˘ and Online Editor Rebecca Wallace, Arts & Entertainment Editor Rick Eymer, Assistant Sports Editor Chris Kenrick, Gennady Sheyner, Staff Writers Sue Dremann, Staff Writer, Special Sections Editor Karla Kane, Editorial Assistant Veronica Weber, Staff Photographer Dale Bentson, Colin Becht, Peter Canavese, Kit Davey, Iris Harrell, Sheila Himmel, Chad Jones, Kevin Kirby, Jack McKinnon, Renata Polt, Jeanie K. Smith, Susan Tavernetti, Robert Taylor, Contributors Kelly Jones, Sally Schilling, Sarah Trauben, Georgia Wells, Editorial Interns Vivian Wong, Photo Intern DESIGN Shannon Corey, Design Director Raul Perez, Assistant Design Director Linda Atilano, Diane Haas, Scott Peterson, Paul Llewellyn, Senior Designers Gary Vennarucci, Designer
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EXPRESS, ONLINE AND VIDEO SERVICES Rachel Palmer, Online Operations Coordinator Rachel Hatch, Multimedia Product Manager BUSINESS Penelope Ng, Payroll & Benefits Manager Elena Dineva, Mary McDonald, Susie Ochoa, Doris Taylor, Business Associates ADMINISTRATION Amy Renalds, Assistant to the Publisher & Promotions Director Janice Covolo, Receptionist Ruben Espinoza, Courier EMBARCADERO MEDIA William S. Johnson, President Michael I. Naar, Vice President & CFO Walter Kupiec, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Frank A. Bravo, Director, Information Technology & Webmaster Connie Jo Cotton, Major Accounts Sales Manager Bob Lampkin, Director, Circulation & Mailing Services Alicia Santillan, Circulation Assistants Chris Planessi, Chip Poedjosoedarmo, Computer System Associates The Palo Alto Weekly (ISSN 0199-1159) is published every Friday by Embarcadero Media, 450 Cambridge Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94306, (650) 3268210. Periodicals postage paid at Palo Alto, CA and additional mailing offices. Adjudicated a newspaper of general circulation for Santa Clara County. The Palo Alto Weekly is delivered free to homes in Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, East Palo Alto, to faculty and staff households on the Stanford campus and to portions of Los Altos Hills. If you are not currently receiving the paper, you may request free delivery by calling 326-8210. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302. Copyright ÂŠ2010 by Embarcadero Media. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Printed by SFOP, Redwood City. The Palo Alto Weekly is available on the Internet via Palo Alto Online at: www.PaloAltoOnline.com Our e-mail addresses are: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. Missed delivery or start/stop your paper? Call 650 326-8210, or e-mail circulation@paweekly. com. You may also subscribe online at www.PaloAltoOnline.com. Subscriptions are $60/yr.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
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I donâ€™t like holding hard-cover books in my hand anymore â€“ theyâ€™re too heavy. â€” Greg Scharff, Palo Alto city councilman, on why he reads e-books rather than print books. See story on page 3.
Around Town EARLY DEADLINES ... Palo Altoâ€™s land-use watchdogs and neighborhood groups cringe every time a developer tries to slip a note to a city official at a public hearing or shows up with lastminute revisions. That infamous practice may soon come to an end. The City Council will consider on Monday changing the cityâ€™s policies to require developers to submit all application materials well in advance of council meetings. The policy would require these materials to be released at least five working days before the release of the City Councilâ€™s pre-meeting packets. Councilwoman Karen Holman, a former planning commissioner, has been a leading proponent of the policy change. At a recent meeting, she pointed to instances in which application materials were delivered to the homes of council members â€” a practice that she said undermines the transparency of the development process. The committee also agreed that council members shouldnâ€™t talk to applicants about their projects until after the cityâ€™s Architectural Review Board and Planning and Transportation Commission had issued their recommendations. The change was prompted by arguments from some planning commissioners that their work is being disregarded by applicants who choose to go over the commissionâ€™s head and appeal directly to council members. PARDEE TIME ... On Jan. 18, a giant limb snapped off a sick eucalyptus tree at Palo Altoâ€™s Eleanor Pardee Park and landed next to Ron Eadie, a Crescent Park resident who was out for a stroll. The incident triggered a series of tree inspections, complaints from neighborhood residents about the dangers of branches falling next to a playground, a petition from 400 other residents asking the city not to take down the trees, five community meetings to discuss the health and fate of the trees and a revolving door of consulting arborists offering second, third and fourth opinions. Six of the most diseased trees have already been removed. Now, after further examination, it looks like the rest of the eucalyptus trees will soon be on their way out as well. That
was the conclusion by Torrey Young, a consulting arborist from the firm Dryad, LLC. According to a report from Community Service Director Greg Betts, Young concluded that â€œall eucalyptus trees should be removed to prevent additional limb drop or whole tree failure around the playground.â€? Arborist Dave Muffley, who was hired by neighborhood residents to inspect the 10 remaining trees, concluded they were â€œstructurally unsound.â€? The city then hired Landscape Architect Edward Chau to develop conceptual plans for the replanting of trees at the southwest corner of the park, according to the report. The plan will be discussed at a Dec. 1 community meeting. GOT MONEY? ... Students and parents across Palo Alto this week were greeted at their schools by volunteers for Partners in Education, an independent foundation that raises funds for Palo Alto public schools. At Palo Alto High School, parents including Melissa Anderson, Susan Bailey and Sally Kadifa, along with Assistant Principal Jeffy Berkson, waved signs reading â€œGive to PiE,â€? â€œThank youâ€? and â€œ3 Days Left to Double your $$,â€? telling parents that all contributions made this week would be doubled thanks to a $275,000 matching grant. Last year, PiE raised $2.9 million to support staffing for classroom aides, science, arts and counseling on this districtâ€™s 17 campuses. CHOWCHILLA SPEAKS OUT ... Midpeninsula cities arenâ€™t the only ones fuming over Californiaâ€™s high-speed rail project. In August, the City Council of Alhambra in Los Angeles County, took a stand against the project. This month, the city of Chowchilla in the San Joaquin Valley followed suit and passed its own resolution of â€œno confidenceâ€? in the high-speed rail project. Much like the â€œno confidenceâ€? resolution that the Palo Alto City Council unanimously approved in September, the Chowchilla resolution blasts the authority for insufficient communications, a lack of details about the railâ€™s design and unreliable ridership projections. N
Courtesy of Jim Burch
Palo Alto Shuttle buses, which currently drive around the city unadorned, will get humorous facelifts (as depicted here) due to the efforts of former Mayor Jim Burch.
Palo Alto shuttle buses to feature local faces Former Mayor Jim Burch responded to new unmarked buses by coming up with his own promo campaign by Jay Thorwaldson
im Burch was somewhat taken aback last January when he saw a new Palo Alto shuttle bus with no signage on the outside telling people what it was — confusing riders and not doing anything to promote the free shuttle service. Nowhere on the side, front or back did it say it was a city shuttle bus — unlike an earlier 2002-03 generation of the four-bus fleet in which the vehicles were adorned with vinyl film and large type on the sides. The city, after cutting one crosstown bus to save funds in an extra-tight budget year, left the new buses blank for the same reason. “You couldn’t tell whether they were meat trucks or what they were,” Burch said. In addition to confusing people, they did nothing to promote ridership and get people out of their
cars, he noted. Then he saw a magazine ad showing a bus with a molded plastic image attached to the side, and it evoked his instincts from his past career in marketing. Burch, also a former Palo Alto mayor and City Council member, decided to do something about the three naked buses, two of which were trundling back and forth on Embarcadero Road and one on a crosstown route. But Burch took the idea miles past the prior markings. In addition to the large signage, with “FREE” prominently displayed, he mixes in photos of local people as “window art” for the new buses. Each window panel will feature one or two persons with talk-balloons, most containing comments
relating to the shuttle, some humorous or witty and some straightforward. “I think I’ve forgotten my stop,” longtime resident Virginia Fitton comments in one panel. “Where did you leave it?” her husband, Don, replies. The vinyl panels have tiny holes so people inside the bus can see out, similar to scenic or animal window images on recreational vehicles. The new buses will make their debut Monday at 10 a.m. in front of City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. On Saturday, volunteers — many of them subjects of the window art — will gather at a bus storage location in East Palo Alto to put on the vinyl images. Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt is fully on board with the concept, he said.
Giving teens space to be themselves Community groups respond to youths’ concerns with basketball, karaoke and more by Jocelyn Dong
couple of Friday nights ago, a crowd of more than 30 teens got together at St. Albert the Great Church on Channing Avenue, some to indulge their inner “American Idol” with a little karaoke, others to watch a movie or play various forms of “tag” outside. Across town that same night, rubber soles squeaked against gym floors at the Ross Road Palo Alto Family YMCA, where a “Teen Open Gym” night was in its first
few weeks. The prior Friday, about 150 teens turned out for a DJ dance party at the new Oshman Family Jewish Community Center. Two more dances are planned for Dec. 3 and 4. In an effort to embrace the youth of Palo Alto, community groups this fall have launched weekly or monthly teen events. The activities are part of a concerted effort to provide youth with relaxing things
to do on the weekends — as well as new venues for them to connect with one another and with adults. The initiative, which youth advocates hope will gain momentum, grew out of three teen forums this spring, held in the wake of five Palo Alto teens’ deaths. At the forums, young people spoke of many of their concerns and desires. One was that they’d like the community to offer more events of a greater variety, planned by both teens and adults.
“This project is a perfect example of the kind of partnerships that make Palo Alto great,” Burt said. The new signage “was born out of the enthusiasm and expertise of our own citizens, who have volunteered their time and creativity to make a city service better.” Burch’s January idea turned into a major undertaking. There are 35 Palo Alto residents featured in the window panels, from children en route to the Junior Museum and Zoo to adults of all ages, some cracking jokes as with the Fittons. But it took longtime Palo Alto photographer Theodore Mock 258 photos to get the final images, Burch said. He said the subjects will not be identified by name in the panels — making identifying them something
of an in-joke pastime for the community. Longtime resident Carroll Harrington and Michael Reuscher worked on the design, and Tango Graphics of San Mateo printed the vinyl panels. Burch initially pitched his idea to city officials and secured funding of $7,000 for all three buses, including the side signage and the window images. The shuttle bus service costs the city about $215,000 a year. The crosstown bus is funded fully by the city, and the Embarcadero buses are funded half by Caltrain and a quarter each by the city and Palo Alto Unified School District. N Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson can be e-mailed at jthorwaldson@ paweekly.com.
“Teens want places to go. That’s what they’re looking for,” said Chris Miller, director of youth ministries for St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, which organized the Friday Night Lights movie and karaoke night. “Bowling alleys are closing. ... The traditional venues are quickly going away,” he added, referring to the planned closure of the Palo Alto Bowl. St. Thomas Aquinas Parish is trying to play a role in providing regularly scheduled events. Friday Night Lights, which is open to all Palo Alto youth and does not include any religious teaching, will be offered one Friday a month. The next is scheduled for Dec. 17. Miller hopes other community groups will host events to cover the other weekends of each month.
“The idea is a couple of years from now there will be something every Friday or Saturday night. That’s the vision,” said Miller, who is also a member of the Los Gatos school board. The Palo Alto Youth Collaborative is working to coordinate those efforts, as well as address other youth concerns. The group includes representatives from the school district, nonprofit agencies, health organizations, religious groups, businesses and the city, and meets monthly. Earlier this month, the members heard from two different groups of youth — the Palo Alto Youth Council and Teen Advisory Board — who themselves are planning a teen (continued on page 13)
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Museum plans move forward Palo Alto History Museum will offer interactive exhibits, art
Tough week for would-be robbers
Google to build fiber network at Stanford Palo Alto’s dream of a citywide ultra-high-speed broadband network will soon take shape on a smaller scale just beyond the city’s borders, thanks to a pilot project Google plans to unveil on the Stanford University campus early next year. The Mountain View based tech giant plans to construct a fiber network for about 850 homes leased by Stanford faculty and staff. The network, once built, would enable users to connect to the Internet at speeds up to 1 gigabit per second, which the company says is “more than 100 times faster than what most people have access to today.” The project would be a smaller version of the highly anticipated Google Fiber project, which the company announced in February to great fanfare. Palo Alto is one of hundreds of cities nationwide that yearns to be selected by Google for this project, which would give every household and business in the city high-speed Internet access. Google plans to install a termination point and a dedicated fiber at each home and give each household the option of connecting to the fiber network, according to James Sweeney, president of the Stanford Campus Residential Leaseholders. Those who opt in would be charged $250 for installation, or $50 if they choose to receive a selfinstall kit. They would then receive free ultra-high-speed Internet access for a year, after which time Google would charge a rate that has yet to be determined. N — Gennady Sheyner
LET’S DISCUSS: Read the latest local news headlines and talk about the issues at Town Square at www.PaloAltoOnline.com
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by Kelly Jones
Gallery: PA history summary
Courtyard Gallery: culture
Upstairs: Gallery: education Archives Subtenant
Courtesy of Garavaglia Architecture
In three unrelated incidents in Palo Alto this week, potential victims fought off their robbers twice on Tuesday night, while a wannabe robber of the Midtown 7-11 Sunday night ran off after failing to take cash the clerk tried to hand him. The first of the attempted robberies on Tuesday took place around 9:30 p.m. in the 700 block of Talisman Court. The victim was approached as he got out of his car by a man who walked into his garage, brandished a handgun and demanded money, police said. There was a brief scuffle between the suspect and the victim, and the suspect ran off empty-handed, police said. The victim was not injured. The suspect in that robbery was described as a black man between 18 and 22 years old with a slim build, police said. The second robbery attempt took place at 10:03 p.m. in the 900 block of University Avenue, police said. A fight broke out between the victim, a man in his 30s, and three suspects, one of whom showed a gun and demanded money, police said. The suspects eventually fled. The second victim did not lose any property in the attempted robbery, police said. He sustained minor facial injuries in the fight but was treated by Palo Alto Fire Department paramedics at the scene. One of the would-be robbers is described as a man in his 20s who may be Asian, police said. The man was 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build, and he was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and gray sweatpants. That suspect was the one who was brandishing the firearm and is believed to still be armed, police said. The second of the three suspects is described as a Hispanic man in his 20s who is also 5 feet 10 inches tall but with a larger build. In the incident at the 7-11, a 4:28 a.m. robbery attempt involved a young man in his early 20s wearing a white hooded sweatshirt pulled up over his face, according to Lt. Sandra Brown. She said he entered the store at 708 Colorado Ave., pulled a gun and demanded money. The clerk offered him cash but instead he grabbed a woman customer and again demanded money. “The clerk continued to offer the money,” Brown reported. But instead “the suspect hesitated then fled the store, running east on Colorado Avenue.” He took nothing with him, and neither the clerk nor the woman customer were injured, Brown reported. The robber was described as black, about 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, she said. Police are using the robbery attempts as a way to remind residents to be as aware as possible of their surroundings, particularly after dark. People should also try to stay in well-lit, populated areas and avoid walking alone, police said. If someone should have a run-in with a would-be robber, police advise, “It is generally safer to comply with an armed robber’s demands.” Anyone with information about the two attempted robberies on Tuesday is encouraged to call the Palo Alto Police Department at 650-329-2413 or leave anonymous tips at 650-383-8984. N — Bay City News Service and Palo Alto Weekly staff
The Palo Alto History Museum is expected to open in October 2012, after years of planning and fund-raising.
lans for the long-discussed Palo Alto History Museum are finally in motion. Having raised approximately $6.2 million in the past three years, project managers aim to begin renovation of the Roth Building, located at 300 Homer Ave., in May 2011 and predict that doors to the museum will open by October 2012. Floor plans that have been drawn up show several galleries for exhibits, a café, a community room, an upstairs space that can be leased to a subtenant and a recording area to allow visitors to add their story to the collection of personal histories that make up Palo Alto, among other features. According to city historian Steve Staiger, nearly every city in Santa Clara County except Palo Alto has some form of a historical museum specifically detailing the city’s past. City Council member Karen Holman emphasized that the museum will not only be a focus on the city’s founding but that exhibits will evolve and change with the times. “People only think of history as the past, but it’s a time continuum,” Holman said. “This isn’t like the museums we used to go to with our
parents where the only thing that’s changed is the amount of dust on the displays,” she said, quoting a conversation she had with Staiger. Exhibits in the museum will be
Palo Alto muralist Greg Brown has been commissioned to create a new mural for the side of the building. arranged by four categories: education, technology, business/environment, and arts and culture. “Any story that can be told here should fit into one of those categories,” she said. Ideas are already being discussed for potential exhibits. One will feature Ohlone Native American life at the turn of the 20th century, while another will explore the role of venture capital in Silicon Valley. “Venture capitalists have not gotten much credit for what they have done for California and its economy,” Margaret Maloney of the Palo
Alto History Museum board said. “We’re giving them credit and telling their stories.” Other themes will include Palo Alto’s geology, Palo Alto and Bay area artists and musicians, as well as a plan for “living time capsules” — an area where children can suggest objects they think best represent a given year. Objects will be gathered and displayed in five-year increments, beginning with the year the museum opens. The building itself will have a place in the museum’s historical teachings. The Roth Building, built for the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, was constructed in 1932 and served the community as one of the first group medical practices in the country. The building is listed in the National Registrar of Historic Places. The murals decorating the walls of the Roth Building have a few stories behind them as well. Created by Victor Arnautoff in 1932, the Art Deco murals caused a stir when they were unveiled. Several of the pictures showed half-naked patients being examined by doctors, exciting outrage from the public. (continued on page 11)
Toughness just part of the job at Planned Parenthood From helping 12-year-olds to weathering picketers, Williams reflects on two decades by Chris Kenrick
Linda Williams, executive director of Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, stands outside the Mountain View clinic in early November.
hen Linda Williams applied for the top local job at Planned Parenthood, it took her nine months of interviews — the human gestation period — to persuade hiring managers she was tough enough. “I look kind of sweet,” chuckled the petite, longtime Palo Alto resident, who grew up in Texas and Oklahoma. “I do — I always have. It has its advantages.” That was 21 years ago, a time of confrontational blockades of abortion clinics across the country, including a clinic in San Jose. Planned Parenthood wasn’t sure Williams, previously a manager at the Red Cross, was up to the challenge. She finally got hired after a Planned Parenthood board member from Arkansas, who “knew the Southern genre,” reportedly gave his assessment to the selection committee. “He said something like, ‘She’s as tough as a burnt boot,’” Williams recalled, breaking out into a grin. In the two decades since, Williams has grown what was just a Santa Clara County operation into the largest Planned Parenthood affiliate in the nation — encompassing 42 California and Nevada counties and operating 34 full-service health centers, plus 12 to 15 satellite centers. Her operating budget has grown from $3 million to $90 million. Though the organization is fa-
mous as an abortion provider, 97 on the campus of Foothill College. percent of its work revolves around Her two newest counties — San prevention — chiefly contracep- Mateo and Alameda — were inhertion. Just 3 percent of patient visits ited this fall when Planned Parentare for abortion services, according hood booted its five-county, San to service data. Francisco-based Golden Gate afIronically, despite an increasing- filiate from the organization, citing ly permissive culture and far more financial and administrative irreguinformation sources, Williams ob- larities. The change left Williams serves that people’s “specific knowl- scrambling to find venues to serve edge about sex is patients in the new not appreciably counties. more sophisti- ‘I look kind of The largest catcated than when egory of medical I was a teenager sweet. ...It has its visits to Planned in Oklahoma.” advantages.’ Parenthood — 79 People still call percent — falls —Linda Williams, under family planhotlines, with executive director, ning, with pregfrequency, to ask questions like, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte nancy tests and “Is it possible to primary care, each get pregnant the around 5 percent, a first time you have sex?” distant second and third. “The fact that information is As people have trouble obtaining available all over the Internet health insurance, some women have doesn’t mean people access it,” come to rely on the organization for Williams said. primary care as well as family plan“The more distraught someone ning. is, the less likely they are to search “They’ve stayed with us, just kind methodically.” of settled in, and we are their medWilliams’ far-flung empire of ical-care provider in many cases,” clinics, known as Planned Par- she said. enthood Mar Monte, served more The organization also increasthan 261,000 low-income patients ingly serves children. — from Bakersfield to Yuba City “We help with delivery of healthy to Reno — in nearly 553,000 medi- babies, but in some places it’s very cal visits in the past year. Locally, hard for us to find referral sources a full-service clinic operates in for pediatric care for those babies. Mountain View and a satellite clinic “They are so poor, and for a sick-
child visit, many pediatricians cannot afford to have a large Medi-Cal practice. “We finally said, we’re putting all this energy into finding (pediatric) care, maybe we should just offer it. We completely underestimated the complexity of it. Integrating serving children in those centers where we do is more complicated than we expected.” Of Williams’ 34 full-time clinics, 12 currently serve children and 13 offer adult primary care. Despite battle scars from decades’ worth of abortion wars, Williams’ burnt-boot exterior softens when the subject turns to what she considers the highly individual and complex calculus of choice. “The nexus of issues around contraception and abortion is in some ways the nexus between religion and sexuality, and that’s a very powerful nexus point, imbued with a lot of emotion and religious symbolism. “It arouses very strong feelings in many people, pro and con.” Even some of Planned Parenthood’s own donors don’t consider themselves “pro-choice,” she said, but “we do more to help women prevent unintended pregnancies than any other organization in the country.” From time to time a woman who has picketed outside a Planned Parenthood clinic will come in as a patient, seeking to end an unintended
pregnancy of her own, she said. “If our staff recognizes her as a protester, they’ll do their usual kind of counseling and will even push her a little and say, ‘Are you sure you want to (have an abortion), given that you’ve demonstrated a belief that’s counter to this?’ “They will say some variant of, ‘My situation is different.’ “And we say, ‘Yes, it is — and so is every woman’s,’” she said. Beyond managing the clinics, Williams spends a lot of time on the road, working on national strategy for Planned Parenthood, most recently in the area of health care reform. “Like any other health care entity, we have to be alert to the business issues and the mission issues,” she said. The group anticipates a deluge of previously uninsured patients and also is seeking a business model to continue serving the uninsured. Currently, more than 80 percent of Williams’ revenue comes from government and the rest from private sources, including individual contributions. California leads the nation in its level of family-planning support for low-income women, a program developed under former Republican governor Pete Wilson, she said. “There was a big awards ceremony in Los Angeles, and Pete Wilson gave the most moving talk because it was from the heart. “He said the (family planning) program was one of the proudest achievements of his governorship because he felt it was one of the things that did the most to promote equal opportunity in California.” Nobody works in family planning for two decades without amassing a wealth of stories, and Williams has her share. For example, “the oldest pregnant person we’ve ever seen in one of our clinics was 57.” Some people, she said, are surprised to learn Planned Parenthood also supports teens who choose to have their babies through its “Teen Success” program. First launched locally with support from Becky and Jim Morgan of Los Altos Hills, Teen Success has spread to 37 venues around the country. “We have a weekly support group for 12 pregnant and/or parenting teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 — and yes, we do have 12year-olds,” she said. “There’s child care, and for two hours the girls really concentrate on themselves, and it becomes very precious time for them. The goal is to work with them so they achieve a high school diploma or the equivalent, and they don’t have another pregnancy during their high school years, because a second pregnancy is quite common. “About 97 percent of the Teen Success moms in our group do finish high school or the equivalent and, thanks to the Morgans, we now have a scholarship program for those who qualify to go on for post-secondary work.” N Staff Writer Chris Kenrick can be e-mailed at email@example.com.
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Neighborhoods A roundup of neighborhood news edited by Sue Dremann
AROUND THE BLOCK THE SANDMAN COMETH ... Volunteers are needed to help fill sandbags on Sandbag Saturday, which will take place Nov. 20 at the Palo Alto Municipal Services Center at 3201 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Community members are needed to help make and deliver sandbags to their neighbors who can not do the work themselves. Volunteers should go to http://2010sandbagsaturday. eventbrite.com and select the appropriate free “ticket” to sign up for one or more two-hour shifts. Volunteers will be available to help Palo Alto residents who need assistance lifting sandbags after 11 a.m. High school students note: Community-service credit can be received for participating in Sandbag Saturday. Information: 650-617-3197. HOLIDAY FUNDRAISERS ... The Cubberley Tenth Annual Holiday Open Studios raises money for the Palo Alto Art Center Renovation through the sale of artworks and gifts. Art viewing, holiday gift shopping and raffle and refreshments on Nov. 21 from 1 to 5 p.m., Cubberley Community Center, E, F and U wings, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. On Dec. 4, Deborah’s Palm, a non-profit organization providing holistic wellness and support for women in times of crisis, need or daily-life challenges, will host a holiday bazaar from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 555 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto. www.deborahspalm.org.
EAST MEADOW CONCEPTS ... The Draft preferred concept plan for the East Meadow Circle/E. Bayshore Area Concept Plan will be discussed by the Planning and Transportation Commission on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at Palo Alto City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. The plan will include land use designations and key transportation improvements and policy direction, as modified from those previously outlined for the commission and at community workshops. The plan will be finalized and presented to the Palo Alto City Council in early 2011. Send announcements of neighborhood events, meetings and news to Sue Dremann, Neighborhoods editor, at sdremann@paweekly. com. Or talk about your neighborhood news on Town Square at www. PaloAltoOnline.com.
Sock-puppet soliloquy Palo Alto resident Doug Kalish takes to the stage with one-man sock-puppet re-enactments of classic literature by Sue Dremann
oug Kalish donned his homemade sock puppets with relish this week, re-enacting bits of a recent performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in his Old Palo Alto backyard. Hermia, with a bright yellow feather boa for long hair, and Lysander, her comical lover with glittery red heart eyes, engaged in the Bard’s banter. Kalish, an educator, executive of three startups, biologist, managingtechnology consultant, and former managing partner at Price Waterhouse, worked the puppets’ mouths in wide arcing movements, his voice animatedly reciting the lines. He did not try to hide that he is the one who is speaking. “Fair love, you faint with wand’ring in the wood; And to speak troth, I have forgot our way,” the Lysander puppet spoke to his lady love. “I mean that my heart unto yours is knit, So that but one heart we can make of it; Two bosoms interchained with an oath — So then two bosoms and a single troth.” On the words “two bosoms,” Kalish comically entwined the two puppets. The one-man sock-puppet performance of the popular play is one of two performances he has given so far at Salon Menlo, a quarterly reading, film, performance and discus-
GREER PARK GRAND OPENING ... A grand-opening celebration for the newly landscaped Greer Park Phase IV and children’s playground will take place Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. Dignitaries will include City Manager James Keene and Mayor Pat Burt. The event is open to the public.
OLD PALO ALTO
Old Palo Alto neighborhood resident Doug Kalish demonstrates his sock-puppet rendition of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Blonde Hermia is to the left, heart-eyed Lysander to the right, and Kalish as Puck in the middle.
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Southgate toy drive builds friendships, hope Neighborhood event provides gifts for needy local children by Sue Dremann
or the past four years, a festive neighborhood ritual has taken place in the quiet Southgate neighborhood, and it’s about to begin again the week of Nov. 22 and run through Dec. 10. Residents will arrive at the home of Jim and Gail McFall, bearing gifts.
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One by one, the toy count rises: multicultural and multiracial dolls, nonviolent toys and games, family board games, gift cards for teens, portable CD players, watches and books and more. Residents place the colorful, unwrapped toys in barrels on the couple’s porch. When neighbors
arrive on Dec. 5 for the Southgate Neighborhood 5th Annual Toy Drive and holiday party, the barrels will overflow, the McFalls predicted. “It’s neat to see. Someone will walk up with five or six gifts,” Jim said. The barrels of toys will go to
local, needy children who might not otherwise have a gift to open on Christmas morning. The toys benefit InnVision’s Holiday Toy Shoppe, where low-income, local parents can select and wrap gifts for their children for free. Southgate residents provided roughly one-tenth of the 1,200 gifts the toy outlet distributed in 2009. “Last year was our best collection — even with the economic downturn. We collected 135 gifts and filled two barrels and had more than could fit,” Jim said on (continued on next page)
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sion event, supported by Friends of the Menlo Park Library. Kalish invented the performances after learning of the multi-media Salon from co-founder and friend Lauren John. He hadnâ€™t considered puppetry until the Salon came up, he said. â€œBeing a ham and loving any kind of audience,â€? Kalish thought he would find the experience enjoyable after quickly reading through Act II, Scene II, he said. Lysander and Hermia go to sleep in the woods and Lysander is mistaken by Puck (played by Kalish wearing an ivy wreath on his head) for Demetrius, whom Puck is trying to enchant so that he will fall in love with the homely Helena. â€œWhen I had the idea to do this, I went to Jo-Ann Crafts storeâ€? where he spent a couple of hours looking for materials for his creations, he said. He took along his granddaughter, who wanted to make princess sock puppets, which she did, he said. He used as his inspiration a condensed version of Wagnerâ€™s â€œThe Ringâ€? that he saw performed by director Peter Sellars while Kalish and his wife, Donna, were still
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Wednesday morning. The McFalls are hoping to beat last yearâ€™s record, they said. Jim is also trying to get other Palo Alto neighborhoods to do toy drives of their own. â€œItâ€™s not that difficult to do some-
â€˜Itâ€™s not that difficult to do something like it. Even if you only get 10 gifts, thatâ€™s 10 kids who might not have gotten anything.â€™ â€”Jim McFall, Southgate toy-drive organizer, Palo Alto
thing like it. Even if you only get 10 gifts, thatâ€™s 10 kids who might not have gotten anything,â€? he said. The toy drive provides a deeper sense of community as well as a sense of philanthropy, the couple said. The quiet Southgate community is nestled between Palo Alto High School on Churchill Avenue to the north and Peers Park to the south, and Alma Street and El Camino Real to the east and west respectively. Like many other neighborhoods, busy residents often donâ€™t get to mingle outside, Gail said. But on the biggest day of the toy drive, the Dec. 5 holiday party, residents munch on cookies and sip cider and hot chocolate together. Itâ€™s an opportunity for older residents who have lived there for 40 or 50 years to meet new arrivals, the McFalls said. â€œThe concept was to gather neighbors together and get to know each
Harvard University students. It was performed using puppets. â€œIt was so incredibly innovative that it has stuck with me to this day,â€? he said. He also loves the Muppets, he said. â€œIâ€™m absolutely devoted to it. Iâ€™d watch it all the time. It was literate and funny,â€? he said. Kalish did not have much prior acting experienced, except for some performances in high school, where he had the lead in â€œThe Man Who Came to Dinner,â€? he recalled. Reciting Shakespeare took some work, he said. â€œThe memorization was not easy. I took the script out to the Baylands, and Iâ€™d declaim as Iâ€™d walk around. I think I scared off all of the other walkers. The Baylands is a great place to rehearse your lines. It got easier over time,â€? he said. His first performance received wild applause and can be viewed on YouTube by searching under â€œdougkalish.â€? Shortly before Halloween, Kalish returned to Salon Menlo to perform Edgar Allen Poeâ€™s â€œThe Ravenâ€? with a raven sock puppet he purchased online and appropriately named Edgar. For this performance, he explored the poem verse by verse, explaining many of its nuances and obscure ref-
erences. â€œI spent a lot of time researching what the poem was about. Just doing a reading of the poem is boring. There are a lot of things that are not obvious to the modern reader. A lot of references are not familiar,â€? he said. Kalish read â€œThe Ravenâ€? while in high school but didnâ€™t remember it well, he said. But it isnâ€™t a poem of haunting and horror, he realized. â€œThe poem is really about loss and the fellowâ€™s finally accepting that his love is never going to be with him on Earth or in heaven,â€? he said. Kalish said he loves to read everything from classics to modern literature, and he loves the works of E. Annie Proulx. His â€œabsolute favoriteâ€? genre is the short story. He loves anything by Charles Dickens and would like to do a sockpuppet scene from â€œDavid Copperfieldâ€? or â€œNicholas Nickleby,â€? he said. He isnâ€™t sure about his next performance at the Salon. â€œLauren wants to do something on Valentineâ€™s Day. While walking the dog today, I thought, â€˜How about karaoke?â€™ Lip-syncing â€” maybe with marionettes.â€? N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
other and give back,â€? Gail said, noting that she is also involved in a similar program at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati, where she is the community-affairs manager. The toy drive also helps to raise awareness for the Southgate Neighborhood Watch program, which the McFalls lead. It helps when people get to know their neighbors, Gail said. The toy drive instills a sense of neighborhood values in young people, Gail said. â€œItâ€™s fun to watch the kidsâ€™ reactions when they put the toys in the barrels. It gives them a good sense of community,â€? she said. The McFalls also travel well beyond Southgate to help build neighborhoods in devastated communities. Jim is an architect, and in August, they went to New Orleans to work with Rebuilding Together, reconstructing neighborhoods destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The couple have also traveled to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and built
300-square-foot homes for people who were living in chicken coops, they said. The payoff of the voluntarism? â€œGetting that feedback â€” the response,â€? he said of people who were grateful for their new homes. The McFalls recalled the hope they helped restore in New Orleans. Gail said she saw it in residentsâ€™ eyes. â€œItâ€™s a faith that everyone would come to help them there,â€? she said. Without that help, the rebuilding â€œwouldnâ€™t have happened.â€? N Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at sdremann@ paweekly.com.
Correction In the Nov. 12 edition article on mobile apps, the Web address for Jon Paris and Tim Suâ€™s company was incorrect. The correct URL is http://act.fm. The Weekly regrets the error. To request a correction, contact Managing Editor Jocelyn Dong at 650-223-6514, jdong@ paweekly.com or P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302.
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